Stacha's killer faces three life sentences

2017-12-07 21:45
Randy Tango has been convicted of raping 11-year-old Stacha Arends twice and then murdering her. (Jenni Evans, News24)

Randy Tango has been convicted of raping 11-year-old Stacha Arends twice and then murdering her. (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town - Mitchells Plain man Randy Tango faces three life sentences after the Western Cape High Court found him guilty of the rape and murder of his 11-year-old neighbour, Stacha Arends.

Her family and friends in the public gallery of the courtroom were silent after Judge Robert Henney delivered his judgment.

It was one of 56 cases of child murders investigated in the Western Cape this year.

Stacha’s mother, Sandy Markgraff, did not want to be interviewed after the judgment and said she was not feeling well. However, Stacha's uncle Henry Arends, spoke instead and said he was happy with the manner in which Henney had handled the case.

Stacha disappeared after being called to Tango's house by a neighbouring child on March 27.

Her body was found on a sports field in the early hours of the following day.

In his plea, Tango admitted that he had locked Stacha inside the house and that she told him she would do anything as long as he did not hurt her.

He claimed he had consensual sex with her, but that he knew she was under the age of legal consent.

His admission led Markgraff to sob loudly outside the court room at the time.

Although he did not testify, he admitted in a written plea explanation that he had strangled Stacha because he feared she would tell her mother that he had sexual intercourse with her, and did not want to be imprisoned.

The 32-year-old will have to wait until Monday to find out whether Judge Robert Henney will impose the prescribed minimum sentence of life imprisonment for the offences or if he will show mercy.

Prosecutor Maresa Engelbrecht told Henney that Stacha's case was one of 56 child murder cases that the National Prosecuting Authority was handling this year.

All her family wanted was for the court to impose three life sentences, she said.

More rape cases discovered

Arends' murder brought to light four other rape cases against him, involving two women, between 2008 and 2012.

The cases had been withdrawn.

They were discovered when the investigating officer did a background check on him and the complainants were asked if they would be prepared to testify against Tango if the charges were reinstated and added to Stacha’s case.

One case involved a 14-year-old primary school pupil, with whom he had fathered a child.

In his judgment, Henney said there was not enough evidence to find Tango guilty of the older rape cases.

If he finds a person guilty, it has to be beyond any doubt, he explained.

Jealous and abusive

However, Tango was convicted in the case in which he had fathered a child.

Henney said he had heard testimony that the girl had been standing with a friend on a street corner in Mitchells Plain and that Tango had invited them to his place to smoke cigarettes.

While the friend hung around with other people at his place, he took the teen to his bedroom and penetrated her and covered her mouth as she struggled to free herself.

Judge Henney heard evidence that Tango boasted about having sex with the teen.

The court also heard that, on a later occasion, the teen did not put up a fight when he had sexual intercourse with her.

"During this time, she allowed him to proceed to sexually abuse her because she knew it would not make a difference," said Henney.

When she discovered she was pregnant, charges of rape were laid against Tango.

His defence lawyer maintained this was only because she could not conceal her pregnancy.

Henney said that after the child was born, the teen allowed Tango to see his daughter (currently the youngest of three of his children), and the two had a romantic relationship and even lived together.

After consultation between the girl and her mother, the rape charges were withdrawn.

However, Henney said Tango was jealous and abusive and added that their relationship fluctuated.

He also tried to attack her once at a maintenance office and people in the building had to restrain him.

Tango was found guilty in terms of the Sexual Offences and Related Matters Act for having sex with a girl who was under the age of legal consent.

'She trusted him'

His other accuser had apparently been invited by him to smoke dagga at a sports field in Tafelsig.

He wanted to kiss her, but she said she was in a relationship.

"She had trusted him," said Henney.

He pushed her down, pulled her pants down and penetrated her with his fingers.

Afterwards, he told the girl she can go and lay a case of rape if she wants to.

Tango was eventually arrested for that case too but it was withdrawn because she could not be contacted and it was difficult to get her to court.

In Stacha’s case, Tango had admitted to her rape and murder.

"He put her in a bin," said Henney, as he summed up Tango's plea explanation handed in on Monday.

After delivering judgment, Henney moved on swiftly to sentencing proceedings.

Tango’s personal circumstances

Tango's lawyer Koos Smit said Tango had grown up Mitchells Plain, passed Grade 9 and came from a relatively stable family.

He worked as a contract cleaner at Hottentots Holland Hospital and Lentegeur Hospital, earning R3 300 a month.

"I asked him what you would say to the deceased's parents and his reaction is:  'I am very sorry,’" said Smit

"He says he knows nothing he can say will bring that child back. But he hopes that one day they will find it in their heart to forgive him."

Prosecutor Maresa Engelbrecht said Stacha was a beautiful 11-year-old child, who was cruelly taken away.

She submitted that the family told her: "The day we lost Stacha, we lost ourselves.  All we ask is three life sentences for him."

Sentencing was postponed to Monday, December 11.

Tango remains in custody.

Read more on:    stacha arends  |  cape town  |  crime

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